Journey to a Sicilian Opera

Mar 21, 2017 429

BY: Norman Mathews

It’s a snowy Saturday afternoon in Rockford, Illinois. My grandfather, Ignazio, is all but pressing his ear against the Zenith radio to hear the Metropolitan Opera broadcast of La Boheme, starring Bidú Sayao and Ferruccio Tagliavini. He pleads with me to sit with him and listen to the music of his country, which he deeply misses.

No doubt the opera is a heartwarming escape from his tediously stultifying job at the Roper Stove foundry. I sense his disappointment as I squirm about, unable to sit through the whole opera, even though I’m struck by the beauty of the voices and the glorious Puccini melodies. But mostly, I’m in awe that this broadcast is coming from New York City, the magical place I longed to be since it first enchanted me in the movie musicals.

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